Where can you turn for infidelity advice? Although many people turn to a Relationship Specialist for information about affairs and affair recovery, there are other sources as well.
Steven M Cohn, PhD, LMFT
The Portland Couples Counseling Center
1940 NE Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97232
First up are two books you might want to read. In “NOT Just Friends”(1) the author talks about rebuilding trust and recovering your sanity after infidelity. Advice from this book starts with the premise that "good people in good marriages are having affairs." The point is made that "well-intentioned people who had not planned to stray are betraying not only their partners but also their own beliefs and moral values, provoking inner crises as well as marital ones." The author states that many people who cheat "unwittingly form deep, passionate connections before realizing that they've crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love." This may or may not comfort you as you struggle with your feelings following your experience with infidelity.
Advice from a second book, “Surviving Infidelity: Making Decisions, Recovering from the Pain,”(2) points out that there are different types of affairs. These affairs range along a continuum depending on the degree of "emotional investment the unfaithful spouse feels toward the lover." At the low end of the spectrum are casual involvements such as serial affairs and flings. Perhaps more distressing to the uninvolved spouse are those involving a high degree of emotional investment such as romantic love affairs and long-term affairs.
If you can't bring yourself to go to a bookstore, perhaps you would feel more comfortable getting your infidelity advice from your daily newspaper. A recent study(3) points out that the informal advice provided by columnists such as Ann Landers and Dear Abby can provide an important starting point for discussions about topics that would normally be considered taboo.
Since the Internet abounds with infidelity advice you might want to start with some simple searches. As always, be careful which Internet sites you turn to for counsel as many sites are merely conjecture and opinion.
If you do get up the nerve to get infidelity advice from a Relationship Specialist, what should you expect? Research shows that most people who have experienced marital infidelity go through a three-stage process after discovering the affair.(4) It's possible that you may not feel ready for counseling at the beginning stage of the process, but you might feel more prepared to confront the affair at a later stage in your feelings.
No matter where you turn for infidelity advice, it is vital that you find a way to get through the process and move on to forgiveness. Many therapists will recommend that you work on forgiveness in order to heal after experiencing infidelity. Advice from them will point out that forgiveness is often related to physical health and future intimate relationship health.(5) So, for the sake of your future, make sure you seek infidelity advice when you need it!
(1) Glass, Shirley, and Staeheli, Jean Coppock. NOT "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity Simon and Schuster, 2004.
(2) Subotnik, Rona, and Harris, Gloria G. Surviving Infidelity: Making Decisions, Recovering from the Pain. Adams Media, 2005
(3) Gudelunas, David. Talking taboo: Newspaper advice columns and sexual discourse. Sexuality & Culture 9(1): 62-87, 2005.
(4) Olson, Michael M., Russell, Candyce S., Higgins-Kessler, Mindi, and Miller, Richard B. Emotional Processes Following Disclosure of an Extramarital Affair. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. 28(4): 423-434, 2007.
(5) Fincham, F.D., Hall, J., & Beach, S.R.H. forgiveness in
Marriage: Current status and future directions. Familly Relations, 55,
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Did Your Husband, Wife, or Intimate Partner Cheat on You?
Don't let infidelity, an affair, or a one-night stand destroy your relationship.
With professional intervention it is often possible to work through the pain of betrayal and come out stronger on the other side.
Steven Cohn, PhD is a seasoned Relationship Specialist with extensive experience in working with couples struggling to recover after an affair.